Project Engineer, Roanoke Gas Co., Roanoke, VAProject Engineer, Roanoke Gas Co., Roanoke, VA
- Lord Botetourt High School, Botetourt Technical Education Center, Botetourt County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Building Trades I and II
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology, East Tennessee State University
Constructing a career
by Veronica Garabelli
C.J. Boothe grew up around construction sites and enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the industry, so it is fitting that he pursued a career in the field.
“My father has been in construction since I was a little kid, so I kind of grew up around it and took a liking to it,” says C.J., who helped his dad with construction projects during the summer breaks. The building trades program at Botetourt Technical Edu- cation Center also helped C.J. gain industry experience and prepared him for college coursework at East Tennessee State University, where he studied construction engineering.
“It was a very neat program,” says C.J., who built modular houses with his classmates as part of the building trades classes, in which he earned a building trades certificate.
During college C.J. continued to gain hands-on experience, completing an internship at a local construction company. After college he landed a job as a project engineer at Allegheny Construction, before serving as a supervisor at Western Virginia Water Authority. He began working at Roanoke Gas Company in 2013 as an operations engineer, before being promoted to project engineer.
Today, C.J. is leading construction projects as a project engineer at Roanoke Gas. For the past two-and- a-half years he’s been working on a project to renew older gas lines in the Roanoke Valley. He also served as Troutville’s mayor for the better part of last year, overseeing one of the town’s largest water construction projects ever.He advises high school students who want to pursue a job in the construction field to start thinking about their careers now. “Have a career path that you’re thinking about before you get out of high school,” he says.
Owner & President, Dawson Custom Woodworking, Inc., DCW Rental Properties, LLC, Rustburg
- Rustburg High School, Campbell County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Introduction to Animal Systems, Agricultural Production Technology; Agricultural Production Management; Operating the Farm Business; Technical Drawing and Design; Engineering Drawing and Design; Architectural Drawing and Design; Materials and Processes Technology
- Additional studies: Class A Contractor; Kitchen Builder certification
Building a future
by Veronica Garabelli
Joey Dawson’s fascination with carpentry started as a child, when he snuck into his grandfather’s woodworking shop to build small jewelry boxes, frames, and signs.
A self-described busybody, “it focused my attention and energy to know I could take just a couple of piles of board and turn them into some-thing, that I could give to somebody or have,” Joey says. “That meant a lot to me.”
Today, Joey has turned his passion into his job. He’s the owner of Dawson Custom Woodworking (DCW) Inc., which remodels and builds homes and manufactures custom cabinets and furniture. He started the company when he was 18 years old, logging $80 thou-sand in sales the first year. The firm now has four full-time employees, made $1.5 million in sales in 2014, and works with several subcontractors.
Although it’s been 20 years since Joey graduated from high school, he still uses the skills he picked up in high school. As a builder and contractor you have to be a jack of all trades, Joey says.
“Classes that were hands-on were what meant the most to me,” he says, citing the impact of his CTE and mathematics classes. After high school, Joey received his Class A Contractor license and became certified through the Kitchen Builder program.
Joey also has expanded to other entrepreneurial ventures. He started DCW Rental Properties, LLC, which builds and leases properties. He also has started a DCW tournament fishing team, which he treats like a business (although technically it isn’t one).
“I work hard at it like I do my business, and it’s something that I enjoy doing outside of work,” he says. “The competition drives me.”
Senior Project Manager, Koenigsberg Engineering, Chicago and New York
- George Washington High School, Danville City Public Schools
- CTE studies: Drafting; Architectural Drawing and Design; Principles of Technology; Computer Networking Hardware Operations
- Additional studies: Bachelor’s of Architecture and Master’s of Integrated Building Delivery, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
Designing a blueprint for success
by Veronica Garabelli
Sayiddah McCree’s architecture career has taken her to some high places—literally. One project led her to ride up a scaffold to the top of a 33-story building. “The scaffolds are scary, but it actually is kind of cool to be out there doing the work,” says Sayiddah, a senior project manager at Koenigsberg Engineering, which focuses on the assessment and restoration of building façades in Chicago and New York.
Sayiddah began working at Koenigsberg Engineering in 2010 as an intern. Today she inspects building façades for clients who want to renovate buildings, outlines what repairs are needed, and determines how much they will cost. Sayiddah then monitors the repair process until the project is completed. She has worked on projects ranging from $750,000 to $1.5 million.
“I love architecture because you’re able to shape a space and make it better or safer,” Sayiddah says. “That’s what I do right now, it’s about health, safety, and welfare.”
Sayiddah developed an interest in the field as a child, where she helped with renovation projects around her house. At first, she wanted to be an interior designer but decided architecture was a better fit because she was good at mathematics. In high school, she took courses in technical drafting and architectural drawing and design. The latter course taught her to question what she was drawing, why she was drawing it, and what the drawing would be used for.
In 10th grade, local entrepreneur Roy G. Gignac encouraged Sayiddah to apply for a scholarship through his fund at The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region. The scholarship encourages students to pursue STEM fields and preferably attend Gignac’s alma mater, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. Sayiddah followed through and received a scholarship to the school, which paid for her education and housing at IIT.
Sayiddah received a master’s in integrated building delivery in 2012 from IIT, but she’s not done learning yet. She recently completed the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Riordan Fellows Program, which prepares college graduates to apply and succeed in a top MBA program and a career in management. Sayiddah plans to apply for an MBA this fall to help her achieve her ultimate goal—improving housing in underserved communities.
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.